Computer Culture Emerged in Canada Through Convergence of Unique History and Governmental Policies


June 20, 2022

Transformative moment in artwork and science explored from Canadian perspective in new e book

“There is a regular story about how computers developed that is centralized around Silicon Valley this creation fantasy of the laptop as a uniquely American cultural and social phenomenon,” said Michael Century, a professor in the Office of Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “That story is not incorrect, but it is really not the entire tale.”

In his new book, Northern Sparks: Innovation, Technological know-how Policy, and the Arts in Canada from Expo 67 to the Internet Age, Professor Century specifics insights and observations acquired as a producer and creator of new media art and as a digital plan adviser to the Canadian governing administration. He provides a exclusive viewpoint to the emergence of the electronic age set in a specifically Canadian narrative, just one that revolves all around the social, technological, and political history of Canada in the late ’60s as a result of the early ’90s.

“I had this privileged posture to glance deeply into the interconnections amongst the arts and technological know-how,” Prof. Century explained. “I began to see that the personal computer would grow to be a widespread instrument to make interdisciplinary operate in the arts achievable in unprecedented techniques.”

He places the beginning of his narrative of Canadian electronic lifestyle at Expo 67, the transformative world’s truthful in Montreal when “the nation was dealing with a palpable political reinvention alongside its centennial celebration, and artists were having on the slippery obstacle of defining what it could mean to discuss of a distinctly Canadian tradition.”

The inventive sparks from this original impetus set the stage for what he calls a uniquely Canadian “technological ethos,” whereby emerging systems have been collaboratively formed and co-invented by experimental artists. Prof. Century further more argues that the innovations created by artists resonated with the political consciousness of the era and were being nurtured by federal government guidelines responding to a time of nationwide modernization.

In Northern Sparks, Prof. Century makes use of situation reports in animation, virtual reality, and computer software applications, amid other people, to illustrate how art, technological innovation, and plan intersected in Canada in a way that is distinct to this distinct period and this particular place.

He finishes his analysis in the early 1990s, when the Environment Large Internet built the world wide web ubiquitous and Canadian cultural politics shifted to modify to new globalizing pressures.

“This reserve provides you an in-depth working experience of 1 of people creative times in heritage when the artist, the technologist, the scholar, and the policymaker all came alongside one another all over a spirit of innovation that coincided with a time period of countrywide reinvention,” Prof. Century said. “The Canadian tale serves as an instructive object lesson right now and for the foreseeable future, across the assortment of its wide scope and manifold approaches for mobilizing the arts, coverage, and innovation.”

Northern Sparks, the very first e-book from Prof. Century, will be revealed by MIT Press in June 2022. 


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